California Historical Landmark No. 888: Hayes Mansion

The Hayes Mansion is a massive century-old mansion located in San Jose, California (Santa Clara County), which was home to a prominent local family. I visited the Hayes Mansion on my road trip up to the Bay Area at the end of February, after being lured in by the landmark signs from the highway. This landmark dates back to 1905, and is currently a luxury hotel and conference center.

California Historical Landmark No. 888

The Hayes family was originally from Wisconsin, and moved to San Jose in the late 1880s. Commissioned in 1903 and completed in 1905 to replace an earlier house that had been destroyed by fire in 1899, the mansion was to house Mary Folsom Hayes (now married to San Jose attorney Thomas Chynoweth) and her two sons from her previous marriage, Jay Orley Hayes and Everis Anson Hayes, and their families. The building was designed by George W. Page in the Mission Revival style, and was over 41,000 square feet, and had many fire-safety features, including the placement of the kitchen in a separate building. While Mary died before the house was completed, the house was occupied by the two brothers and their families, and became self-sufficient with their own fruit and vegetable cultivation. The Hayes’ became proprietors of the San Jose Mercury newspaper in 1901 and Everis Hayes served as a member of the US House of Representatives from 1905 to 1919, while Jay was the founder and president of the California Prune and Apricot Grower Association, which later became Sunsweet Growers.

During its heyday when the Hayes family lived at the site, the mansion was a hub of Santa Clara valley society, despite being separate from the main center of San Jose. In addition to the mansion, the Hayes estate once had its own power plant, post office, chapel, railroad station, carriage stop, and dormitory for ranch hands.

The Hayes families sold the mansion in the 1950s, after which it was left vacant and became dilapidated. The City of San Jose purchased the mansion in 1984 and renovated it in the early 1990s and added the conference facilities, and turned the north section of the property into a public park.

Plaque Text:

    Jay Orley and Everis A. Hayes built this Mission Revival style mansion, designed by George W. Page in 1904. The Hayes brothers were early San Jose Mercury publishers, prominent valley politicians, and were actively involved in establishing the Santa Clara Valley fruit industry. The mansion consists of 62 rooms, 11 fireplaces, and was paneled in over a dozen different woods.

    California Historical Landmark No. 888

    Originally registered December 29, 1975. Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the Stella B. Gross Charitable Trust and Mountain Charlie Chapter No. 1850, E Clampus Vitus, April 19, 1986.

The Hayes Mansion is located at:
200 Edenvale Avenue
San Jose, CA 95136

There are a ton of tan landmark signs leading from the area highways to the Hayes Mansion from both US 101 and SR82, and the hotel has a useful map and directions page.

While there is a private plaque detailing the history at the entrance of the mansion building, which describes the history of the Hayes Mansion, the California Historical Landmark plaque is set into the decorative entrance wall, located back on Edenvale Avenue, just north of the driveway entrance. Adjacent to the California Historical Landmark plaque are plaques showing that the mansion is also a San Jose Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.

Check out my flickr album for the Hayes Mansion, where I have 15 photos of the historic building and its assorted landmark plaques.


More California Historical Landmarks around San Diego Bay

This afternoon, I decided to celebrate National Park Week with a visit to Cabrillo National Monument at the end of Point Loma. Since I was downtown to start with, I decided to wrap in a visit to Spanish Landing, along the harbor of San Diego Bay…. and after visiting the Cabrillo Lighthouse, I just kept searching for landmarks in Point Loma and Liberty Station.

In all, I visited these California Historical Landmarks:

  • Spanish Landing – No. 891 – at Spanish Landing Park (across Harbor Drive from the airport)
  • Old Point Loma Lighthouse – No. 51 – at Cabrillo National Monument
  • Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery – No. 55 – at the cemetery that is just north of Cabrillo
  • Old La Playa – No. 61 – at the entrance to the Naval Base Point Loma (along with some La Playa Trail markers)
  • El Desembarcadero – No. 64 – Liberty Station area on Farragut Street
  • USS Recruit – No. 1041 – Liberty Station

I’ll post some photos later this week!

Update: Track my articles & photos with the “Visited So Far” link

I did a little revamp of how this blog is organized – now it is easier to keep track of which landmarks I’ve visited, and if I’ve posted articles and links to photo albums about them. Just use the Visited So Far page at the top to see which landmark locations I’ve documented on this blog!

The San Diego County page will still list all the landmarks in San Diego County, as well as when I visited them, but if you just want to get a handy table of contents of my posts about individual landmarks, then the Visited So Far page is the way to go.

If you notice, I’ve got a lot more photo albums linked right now than I do have full articles written, so you can go to the Visited So Far page to check out photos for places I’ve visited but not written up yet, such as:

See any National Park for free during National Park Week (April 22-26)

Next week is National Park Week, and while most of our National Park Service units are always free, next week, even the fee-access areas are free from April 22 to April 26! I think I may head down to Cabrillo National Monument to enjoy the views, and of course, find any California historical landmarks!

Get more info:

California Historical Landmark No. 59: San Diego Presidio Site

Presidio Hill, just above Old Town, is the site of several California Historical Landmarks, and is today a lovely city park for relaxation and enjoyment, with hiking and picnicking opportunities with fantastic scenery and views. Located prominently in the park is the Junípero Serra Museum, which is run by the San Diego History Center. The museum is located just uphill of the original site of the Presidio (garrison) established by the Spanish.

California Historical Landmark No. 59

Prior to Spanish settlement, the hillside was settled by the Kumeyaay people as the village of Cosoy. When the Spanish came to settle Alta California, they established the Presidio, a military fort, in May 14, 1769. The Presidio hill had a strong defensive position, and could keep watch over San Diego Bay, and the Pacific off of False Bay (today’s Mission Bay), while having access to water from the San Diego River. The presidio was the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the US. While the presidio had to fend off an Indian uprising only a month into its establishment, a stockade was completed in 1770. The Mission San Diego de Alcala was founded only two months after the fort was established, also on Presidio Hill, by Fr. Junipero Serra, though was moved further upstream to its present site in 1774.

Around that time, the original buildings of the Presidio were being upgraded to adobe structures, and in 1822, after Mexican independence, the post was turned over from Spain to Mexico, and became the Mexican Governor’s residence until it was abandoned in 1837, when being in the town below was more practical than up on the hill. The site fell into ruin. George Marston, a wealthy San Diego businessman, bought the site in 1907 in order to preserve it, and had the Serra Museum building built in Spanish Revival style in 1929, and turned the park over to the city at that time. While no buildings of the Presidio remain, you can still see the remnants in the mounds just west of the Serra Museum at its parking lot.

Plaque text:

    Soldiers, sailors, Indians, and Franciscan missionaries from New Spain occupied the land at Presidio Hill on May 17, 1769 as a military outpost. Two months later, Fr. Junipero Serra established the first San Diego mission on Presidio Hill. Officially proclaimed a Spanish presidio on January 1, 1774, the fortress was later occupied by a succession of Mexican forces. The presidio was abandoned in 1837 after San Diego became a pueblo.

    California Registered Historical Landmark No. 59

    First registered Dec. 6, 1932. Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation and Squibob Chapter, E Clampus Vitus, August 8, 1992.

The perimeter of the site itself is partially marked with a yellow wall just downhill of the parking lot, and can be entered from a few spots. Most of the site is grass covered, though some mounds form the outline of a building site within the fort site. At the back end of the parking lot is a small pentagonal building that forms a corner of the perimeter wall. It probably stores park maintenance supplies, but has a small staircase leading up to a roof overlook spot, and has a marker on the wall memorializing Sylvester Pattie, the first American buried here (part of a exploration expedition, who was imprisoned).

Following the main roadway downhill, there are also a few other markers and statues: one grove has a statue entitled Padre, a time capsule and the Serra Cross, made out of tiles and bricks pulled from the ruins of the Presidio, and built in 1913. Across the roadway is a larger statue entitled The Indian, by the same artist, Arthur Putnam, around a buried archaeological site that was once the village of Cosoy. Near this statue is an restroom with a rooftop overlook spot for Old Town and Mission Bay. Both statues were originally placed elsewhere but later moved to the park in 1933.

The Presidio site is located about two-thirds of the way up Presidio Hill, in the aptly named Presidio Park.

From Interstate 5, take Interstate 8 east to Taylor Street / Hotel Circle (first exit), and turn right (west) onto Taylor Street. Follow Taylor Street along past the Presidio Hill, and turn left onto Presidio Drive, entering the park*. Follow the road south and it will immediately end in a T, and turn left to stay on Presidio Drive, and it will meander up the hill. The Serra Museum will be on the left, with its parking lot on the right.

The Presidio Site landmark plaque is located at the parking lot entrance, across the road from the Serra Museum. The actual presidio site is located downhill of the parking lot, in the area surrounded by the yellow wall.

*At the park entrance, just east of the intersection of Taylor Street and Presidio Drive, are two more California Historical Landmarks, No. 67 – Serra Palm, and No. 244 – Derby Dike, as well as a marker for the La Playa Trail. At the top of Presidio Hill is another Historical Landmark, No. 54 – Fort Stockton.

If you have time for your Presidio visit, I suggest taking the Old Presidio Historic Trail. It is about a mile long, and is marked with a series of 13 signs from Old Town to the Serra museum. The signs, made by the San Diego Historical Society, describe some of the history of the hill site. We tried to follow it, but went off track after hitting the main steep slopes going up the hill. We did find the last few signs of it as we returned down the hill from the Serra Museum. The first marker of the Old Presidio Historic Trail is at the intersection of Mason St. and Juan St. next to Old Town State Park and the Presidio Hills Golf Course, which is the site of another California Historical Landmark – No 74 – Casa de Carrillo.

See all the photos on my
flickr album of Presidio Hill. There’s photos of the Presidio site, the Serra Museum, and other parts of Presidio Park, the Casa de Carrillo, and related historical landmarks.


California Historical Landmark No. 52: Mission Dam and Flume

Related to the historical landmark site of Mission San Diego de Alcala is the Mission Dam and Flume, located only a few miles away, upstream on the San Diego River.

One of the key reasons that the mission was relocated from the Presidio area (at the west end of Mission Valley) was the need for more water and fertile land for crops. Another reason was to locate the mission, whose purpose was to serve and minister to the native population, away from the Spanish soldiers at the Presidio. In 1774, the mission was moved up the valley to a small rise at a bend in the San Diego River, and the valley just north of the bend was prime farmland to support the mission. However to better control water for both the mission and the crops, a reservoir and irrigation system was needed. This was realized with the Mission Dam & Flume, which was completed in 1816. Today, the flume no longer exists, and the dam, sometimes called the Old Mission Dam or Padre Dam, no longer forms a full reservoir, but still partially impedes the flow of the river.

California Historical Landmark No. 52

After our tour of the Mission, we headed a few miles north and east, following the course of the San Diego River upstream, along the aptly named Mission Gorge Road, leading us into a group of mountains which are part of Mission Trails Regional Park. At the park’s visitor center, we were given some directions to find the Mission Dam, which is easily accessed by a one-way road that cuts through the park along the river gorge.

On the upstream side of the gorge, the land flattens out again, and so the top of the gorge became a good spot to dam the river to form a reservoir to hold water for the mission, six miles downstream.

Plaque text:

    After many attempts dating back to 1774 to provide a reliable source of water for crops and livestock for Mission San Diego de Alcala, a dam and flume system was finished between 1813 and 1816 by Indian laborers and Franciscan missionaries to divert waters of the San Diego River for a distance of 6 miles. The aqueduct system continued in existence until 1831 when constant flooding caused the dam and flume to fall into disrepair. They were not repaired due to the secularization of the missions.

    California Registered Historical Landmark No. 52

    First registered Dec. 6, 1932. Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with Mission Trails Regional Park, City of San Diego, and Squibob Chapter, E Clampus Vitus, May 2, 1992.

Mission Dam by jawajames
Mission Dam, a photo by jawajames on Flickr.

The dam formed a reservoir about 300 yards long, and fed into a flume system, made with rounded tiles, that went down to the mission’s farmland and also to the mission (near where the site of the fountain in the central courtyard).

Nowadays, the ruins of the Old Mission Dam are a highlight of the park system, with a small picnic area located at the dam, and a view point on the north side of the dam. The marker is located at the end of the parking area just off of the road, and the dam is only a short walk away. The dam is also a nationally registered historic landmark, for its role as the first major irrigation project on the West Coast.

What is interesting to note: the Mission Dam is California Historical Landmark No. 52 (from 1932) but the Mission itself is No. 242 (from 1936).

The plaque is located at the end of the parking lot on the north side of Fr. Junipero Serra Trail (road) in Mission Trails Regional Park. To reach the parking lot by car, you can either enter the park at the Visitor Center entrance off of Mission Gorge Road (near Jackson Drive), & continue on the one way road up the gorge. After 1.7 miles, the parking lot is clearly marked and on the left side, when the road becomes two-way again. I’d suggest visiting this way, or at least hiking through the area, to better understand the terrain that the flume had to be built through, and why the dam location was ideal.

Or you can enter Mission Trails Regional Park from the east side (Santee), from Mission Gorge Road, west of West Hills Parkway, onto Fr. Junipero Serra Trail, and follow it until the road turns into the parking lot on the right (and the road becomes one way in the other direction). Located near the plaque are both a Mission Bell marker and a plaque proclaiming the dam as a National Historic Landmark, and other such recognition plaques.

The dam itself is only a short walk west from the parking lot and plaque. If you follow the trail farther downstream, you will encounter a bridge that will let you cross the river and double back on the north bank to the dam and a good vantage point.


Check out my set of photos of the Mission Dam and the landmark plaque.


Link: State Parks moving California’s artifact collection to new location

Just spotted this in the LA Times:

(And yes, there’s the connection between this new government warehouse and Indiana Jones.)

California Historical Landmark No. 242: Mission San Diego de Alcala & No. 784: El Camino Real

At the beginning of February, we spent a day to find a few more California Historical Landmarks, all connected to the Mission San Diego de Alcala. Here’s the two that are at the Mission site – both are found on the exterior wall of the Mission courtyard, accessible to the public at all times.

No. 242 Mission San Diego de Alcala

First stop was the mission itself. The mission, which was founded in 1769 by Fr. Junipero Serra at the Presidio Hill, but relocated from there to its current location further up Mission Valley in 1774 by Fr. Luis Jayme to have better access to water for irrigation, to be closer to the Native Americans, and further away from the Spanish military garrison at the Presidio.

Plaque text:

    On Sunday, July 16, 1769 Fathers Junipero Serra, Juan Vizcaino, and Fernando Parron raised and blessed a cross to establish Alta California's 1st mission. Relocated from Presidio Hill to this site in August 1774 the mission was the mother of those founded by the Franciscan order. The present buildings, first completed in 1813, were rebuilt in stages from 1915 to 1931 after many years of deterioration. They have been in use as a parish church since February 1941.

    California Registered Historical Landmark No. 242

    Originally registered June 10, 1936. Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the Diocese of San Diego and Squibob Chapter, E Clampus Vitus, Sunday July 16, 1989.

This points out the basic history of the mission, though there’s more to it. The mission remained active from the Spanish colonial period (even building a dam and flume to supply water to the mission and its crops) through Mexico’s independence in 1821, but eventually the mission system was dissolved and the lands redistributed through the 1834 Decree of Secularization. In the 1850s, with California now a state in the United States, the mission was used as a military outpost, with the soldiers building a second floor within the chapel: the upper floor was a barracks while the main floor was the stable. In the late 1800s, the mission was used as an Indian children’s school. By the early twentieth century, the building complex was falling into ruin, and efforts to restore it as a historical site. Read more about the history at the Mission’s website or at the National Park Service’s site for American Latino Heritage.

After being rebuilt (though the campanario, or bell wall, were rebuilt with no photographs of how they were originally structured), the church was re-opened as a parish in San Diego in 1941 (though perhaps at that time, Mission Valley was still rather sparsely settled.) In 1976, the mission was named a minor basilica of the Church.

The plaque is located along the main front wall, to the right of the entrance passage to the gift shop.

The mission today houses:

  • the main church (still active as a parish) – a two-story rectangular building built as wide as the longest beams would allow.
  • a smaller chapel (for daily services)
  • some museum displays – a recreation of what the priests’ main residential room, and a room of artifacts and displays of the history of the mission, from its use as a mission, to the Mexican secular period, to its use as a military barracks, to its abandonment and restoration.
  • gift shop, where you can enter the grounds to explore the mission (donation is suggested, and they have a handy guide map and pamphlet of a walk around the grounds)
  • a garden courtyard behind the campanario with trees, fountains, statues, and devotional spots
  • a central courtyard / church parking area with a display of a traditional Kumeyaay house, a central fountain, and a Pieta statue.
  • archaeological dig site of the cloister building that went along the front wall. Parts of the adobe walls are visible as the site is closed off for future discovery.
  • some additional buildings – perhaps related to the school and education center.

A good time to visit the Mission might be during the annual Festival of the Bells, which celebrates the anniversary of the mission in July.

No. 784: El Camino Real (As Father Serra Knew It and Helped Blaze It)

Further to the left of the gift shop entrance, as you get closer to the chapel facade, there’s another California Historical Landmark plaque in the wall:

Plaque text:

    This plaque is placed on the 250th anniversary of the birth of California's apostle, Padre Junipero Serra, O.F.M., to mark the southern terminus of El Camino Real as Padre Serra knew it and helped to blaze it.

    1713 - November 24 - 1963

    California Registered Historical Landmark No. 784

    Plaque placed by the California State Park Commission in cooperation with the Committee for El Camino Real. December 29, 1963

About El Camino Real:
El Camino Real (or Royal Highway) was the network of roads that connected the 21 missions of California. There is a matching plaque at the Mission San Francisco de Asis as the northern terminus of Father Serra’s El Camino Real (the Mission Trail itself extends further north from San Francisco to the mission in Sonoma, which was built in 1823.

Mission Bells and La Playa Trail:

Also at the mission site, are several Mission Bells from the El Camino Real marker bells from the early 1900s. Donated by the Pacific Beach Women’s Club, they likely were relocated during the development of PB to the mission, where they now line the driveway from Mission Center Road up the hill to the church. And in the lower parking lot, there is one more marker of note:

La Playa Trail Marker – The La Playa Trail is considered the oldest commercial trail in the western United States/oldest European trail along the Pacific Coast. Starting off as a Native American route, it entered commercial service as the route that connected the Presidio to La Playa (where the ships landed in San Diego Bay, along the bayside of Point Loma) and then later expanded east when the Mission moved further east. The La Playa Trail Association’s website has more history about the trail and its original six commemorative markers placed in 1934.

Mission San Diego is located in the eastern portion of Mission Valley, just off of Interstate 8 and Interstate 15 in San Diego.

    Mission San Diego
    10818 San Diego Mission Road
    San Diego, CA 92108

Both California Historical Landmark plaques are located along the front wall of the courtyard, facing the outside, along with several other historical marker plaques and alcoves containing statuary representing the namesakes of the missions in the Franciscan mission system.

The plaque for No. 784 (El Camino Real) is located closest to the chapel, while the plaque for No. 242 is located to the right of the entryway to the gift shop/visitor entrance.

View all the photos from my visit to Mission San Diego de Alcala in my flickr album.

Five new National Monuments established!

Just announced today: Five new national monuments have been established, including Delaware’s first National Park Service unit (making them the last state to have a NPS unit)

Read more about the five new national monuments:

  • Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio
  • First State National Monument in Delaware, (three sites)
  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland
  • Río Grande del Norte National Monument, northwest of Taos, New Mexico
  • San Juan Islands National Monument, Washington
  • While this blog is primarily about California Historical Landmarks, these new National Monuments are something to celebrate for helping connect us with history and nature.

California Historical Landmark No. 1023: National City Depot Transcontinental Railroad

I visited four different landmarks in the southwest part of San Diego County last weekend, and was going to wait until I migrated my older visits from livejournal to this blog before posting about the new landmarks I visited, but why not strike while the iron is hot.

No. 1023: National City Depot Transcontinental Railroad

The only California Historical Landmark in National City (a small city immediately south of downtown San Diego) is its historic rail depot, which served as the southwestern terminus of the transcontinental railroad operated by Santa Fe. The California Southern line, split off from the main line at Barstow, headed south to Temecula, then cut through Fallbrook to Oceanside. After the railroad passed through Santa Fe Depot (in downtown San Diego), it continued south along San Diego Bay to reach National City.

Originally built in 1882 in the Italianate architectural style (of which it is one of the few remaining buildings in the South Bay), the station continued as the West Coast office for Santa Fe until 1889, when Santa Fe moved its operations to San Bernardino, while the station continued to receive passenger service until 1930. At some point afterward, the two-story structure became a restaurant. The City of National City restored the building in 1998. It is currently a museum operated by the San Diego Electric Railway Association, which has a collection of electric rail (trolley) cars from around the world on the property, and is open Thursday – Sunday.

Plaque text:

    This National City California Southern Railroad Depot, built in 1882, served as the first Pacific Coast terminus station of the Santa Fe Railway System's transcontinental railroad. The station was the West Coast general office and figured prominently in Santa Fe's effort to break the economic and transportation monopoly of California held by the Central/Southern Pacific Railroad. The first transcontinental trains arrived in November 1885, resulting in one of the largest land booms in the history of California. Of the original five transcontinental railroad terminus stations, this unique Italianate designed station is the lone survivor.


    Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the City of National City and the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, Squibob Chapter, November 15, 1997.

Atop the stone monument are three railroad spikes inset into the marker. The landmark was officially registered on March 3, 1997.


The stone marker displaying the plaque is located next to the northeast corner of the depot building. (or to the right of the building as you face the entrance from 23rd Street). National City Depot is located at:

    900 West 23rd Street
    National City
    (San Diego County)

Directions: From Interstate 5, take the Bay Marina Drive / Mile of Cars Way exit, and head west one block. Turn right (north) on Cleveland Ave, then turn left (west) onto West 23rd Street, and the parking lot will be ahead on the left. The marker is within the fenced property, so be sure to check the museum’s business hours to make sure the lot will be open.

P1170743 These two electric railcars are Vienna N1 cars from the 1950s


Visit my geotagged album of photos of the plaque, depot building, and electric railway cars on flickr.

Other resources:

Date of visit: Sunday, March 10, 2013.